By Sandra Birungi
The Vatican has come out and said they were surprised by the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI who has announced, through a statement that he had resigned due to a number of reasons which are still unclear. However, he pointed out issues ranging from having little strength, age, and the modern times as being the reasons as to why he decided to step down.
Reactions from around the world have shown surprise but respect for the Pope’s decision to resign. The German Govt in a statement said, “The German government has the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic church. He has been at the head of the Catholic Church for nearly eight years. He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd. Whatever the reasons for this decision, they must be respected,” government spokesperson said in a statement.
The rector of the redemptorists in Limerick Fr Adrian Egan said, “You have to go back hundreds and hundreds of years to the last one, I can’t even recall off the top of my head when the last pope resigned. I remember at the time of Pope John Paul II when he was very very ill and totally incapacitated people wondered about him resiging but that never came to happen.”
Anne Widdecombe MP described him as a “very decisive character” saying, “If he feels that he can’t do justice to the post, then (this decision) is very typical of him. He’s given the church stability. He was very much an authority figure and he was very, very trusted by church.”
Father Christopher Jamison, a Benedictine monk was also shocked by the news saying, “My reaction is one of great shock and surprise. He’s reached out very strongly to non-believers and fully recognises that people today won’t necessarily join the church. On his visit to the UK in 2010, people were surprised to discover that he wasn’t a terrible ogre of a man but someone of great wisdom.”
French President Francois Hollande said the Pope’s decision to resign was “eminently respectable”.
Pope Benedict is the 265th pope.